SPE Industry Update
Aug. 31, 2011

Lower energy costs as a means to competitive pricing
Plastics Today
Energy costs represents a huge chunk of a plastics company's overhead, which means energy reduction can pay off in many different ways. Minneapolis-based Diversified Plastics Inc. has found that cutting energy use not only reduces its overhead but also allows the company to be more competitive. Jim Dow, president of Diversified Plastics, told PlasticsToday that the company's energy savings "translate into more competitive market pricing, which ultimately benefits the customer."More

Ohio plastics recycler wrapped up in growth
Crain's Cleveland Business
Northeast Ohio long has known, even before Dustin Hoffman did, that fortunes could be made in plastics. And it's still true — enough so that Euclid-based InterGroup International almost has tripled its annual revenues in each of the last three years and is looking for a 200,000-square-foot building in which to expand in order to accommodate its growth. More

Growing market for plastics made out of soybeans
One alternative to oil can grow in the soil, according to the American Lung Association in Minnesota. The group presented "The Clean, Green Minnesota Bean," at the Minnesota State Fair. Randy Hilliard with the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute talked about the growing market for plastics, fabrics, cleaners and other bio-based materials, all made from soybeans, which can be used in place of materials made from petroleum.More

Yale students may have plastics breakthrough
Plastics News
During a two-week class trip to the Amazon Rainforest in 2008, Yale student Pria Anand felt she was heading into uncharted territory. She didn't realize how right she was. Anand, who collected dozens of fungal samples in Ecuador with classmates in her Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory course, wanted to find endophytes that could break down plastics in a process called bioremediation. Endophytes are microbes that can live symbiotically in plants for at least part of their lives without harming them.More

Polypropylene demand grows 14-15 percent in the Mexican domestic market
Polypropylene demand in the Mexican domestic market during July and August grew 14-15 percent over the months and May and June, said a source at resin producer Indelpro. "Customers were preparing for the back to school purchases and producing more food packing, for example. In August, some customers are starting to buy resin to get ready for the end of the year festivities too," said a company source.More

SPI reappoints plastics recycler to handle NPE 2012 scrap
Canadian Plastics
Once again, an Illinois-based recycler has landed the job of recycling all of the plastic scrap generated at next year's NPE 2012 trade show in Orlando, Fla. Maine Plastics, of Zion, Ill., has been appointed by NPE-organizer the Society of the Plastics Industry, to collect, separate, transport, and reprocess the production-line scrap, as well as such other waste as the PET bottles left behind by the show attendees.More

Feedstocks blamed for rising polystyrene and PET bottle resin prices
Plastics News
Raw material pressures have sent North American prices for PET bottle resin and solid polystyrene higher since Aug. 1. PET prices are up an average of 3 cents per pound, largely due to higher prices of paraxylene feedstock. That, in turn, has lifted prices for purified terephthalic acid feedstock, which has its U.S. prices tied to paraxylene on a formula basis.More

Plastic label converter CCL investing $30 million in developing markets
Plastics Today
Far afield from its North American headquarters, plastics packaging processor/converter CCL Industries Inc., best known in this industry for its label conversion capabilities and plastic tube extrusion, plans to invest $30 million this year and next to expand its CCL Label operations in emerging markets. The company will build three new greenfield plants and also invest in additional capacity at some of its existing facilities. More than 80 percent of CCL's earnings stem from its labels business.More

New polymer good for both photovoltaics and plastic electronics
Plastics & Rubber Weekly
A new polymer developed at the Singapore Institute of Materials Research and Engineering is effective in both the latest plastic electronics and plastic solar cells. According to the IMRE researchers, the thiophene/benzothiadiazole copolymer offers cost savings and opens up new design options for electronic and solar cell companies. The material produces a high charge mobility of 0.2 cm2/Vs — matching that achieved by commercially available semiconducting materials.More

Advances in polymer particles hold medical potential
Laboratory Equipment
Tiny particles made of polymers hold great promise for targeted delivery of drugs and as structural scaffolds for building artificial tissues. However, current production methods for such microparticles yield a limited array of shapes and can only be made with certain materials, restricting their usefulness.More

Toray Plastics announces $11.5-million expansion
The Providence Journal
Toray Plastics announced an $11.5-million expansion that's expected to create 28 new jobs in the state over the next 18 months. Toray President and CEO Richard R. Schloesser said the expansion involves new machinery that will add value to the company's products. He said the jobs will be technician positions with annual salaries in the $50,000 range.More

AMI reports document changing structure of injection moulding industry
Packaging Europe
A series of new reports from plastics industry consultants, Applied Market Information Ltd. illustrate how the injection moulding industry in Europe is changing. AMI has been documenting and monitoring this sector of the plastics processing industry for more than 20 years giving it a unique perspective on how the industry has changed over that time.More

Total to merge refining and petrochemicals
French oil company Total is preparing a reorganization to merge its refinery and petrochemical activities, the newspaper Les Echos reported, citing several trade union sources. The reorganization, which entails making the distribution of petrol independent from refineries, is expected to be announced during the autumn and seeks to extract cost savings.More

Polymer research could lead to scratch-resistant coatings
The Engineer
A new analytical method for determining the optimal composition of polymer surfaces could lead to lightweight windows and scratch-resistant coatings for cars and mobile phones. The research used a polymer called poly (methyl methacrylate), which is widely used as a glass substitute, under trademarks such as Lucite or Plexiglas — although is far more brittle and is less scratch-resistant than glass.More

Processing 'Genies' make bottle users' wishes come true
Plastics Today
Plastics processors sometimes get a chance to brag about their recent projects. This week three shared with us what they have been doing to help their customers improve their blow-molded packaging. RPC Kutenholz, for instance, part of European rigid plastics packaging processor RPC Group, developed a new barrier bottle for German food processor Kühne which has enabled that company to dispense with preservatives in its Deluxe barbecue sauces.More